QB3 Congratulates 10 Startups Selected for 2020 Pitch Summit Cohort

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- QB3 is proud to announce the 2020 cohort of the annual QB3 Pitch Summit, a group of early-stage companies chosen for their innovative life-science technologies and potential market impact.

This is the fourth year of the competition, open to life-science companies around the world. The goal is to select startups developing vital solutions to society's needs and introduce them to investors and industry partners to help them accelerate commercialization. In the process, lasting connections are formed that result in partnership, funding, or a combination of both.

The competitive funding climate in 2020 drove entrepreneurs to apply for the program, which received 75% more applications than it did in 2019. The geographical scope also expanded; 2019 saw entries mostly from California, but this year entries were submitted from 18 US states and 5 countries. From this wide initial field, a judging panel drawn from industry and the investing community selected a final cohort of 10 companies.

"The strong response shows that these entrepreneurs are keen for opportunities to get in front of motivated investors and partners," said QB3 Deputy Director Christine Winoto, who organized and led the competition. "In 2020 biotech is front and center which also explains why so many investors want to get a piece of the action."

The final cohort received professional presentation coaching and a range of in-kind legal, operational, and drug development services donated by firms and established industry. On Wednesday, November 18, the entrepreneurs pitched a group of more than 100 accredited investors and industry representatives in a private Zoom session. 

"We are always thrilled to what new technologies entrepreneurs are developing," said QB3 Executive Director Regis Kelly, PhD, OBE. "There are so many needs that society has that can ultimately be solved by biology, from precision medicine to sustainable manufacturing."

The 2020 cohort:

Circumvent has developed a platform for characterizing post-translational modifications in brain diseases giving insight into underlying biology, new targets, and hallmarks for patient selection protocols.

Combinati is developing the most accurate digital PCR platform.

Keyhole Therapeutics is targeting exosome biology in cancer and autoimmune disease, with the goal of inhibiting immune suppressive exosomes in cancer and utilizing them as therapeutics in autoimmune disease.

MyoGene Bio is developing a gene editing therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy that permanently removes a hotspot of patient mutations to restore the dystrophin protein.

To treat chronic pain and tackle the opioid epidemic, Navega Therapeutics has developed a novel gene therapy to treat severe pain that is non-addictive, highly specific, and long lasting.

Riptide Bioscience is a late preclinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel peptide therapeutics for macrophage-driven cancers and fibroses, as well as antibiotic-resistant infections.

Saccharo has discovered a game changing cancer immune shielding pathway based on a novel polysaccharide target found uniquely on cancer cells only. Antibody to this target directly kills cancer cells.

SciBac designs live biotherapeutics to go after antibiotic resistant disease including chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis. Our MERGE technology creates novel, patentable strains that deliver multiple therapeutic mechanisms.

Spira is developing replacements for petroleum-based dyes using CRISPR-edited algae.

Tatara Therapeutics' proprietary Fe2+-Activated Drug Conjugates (FeADC™) are specifically activated in cancer cells, deliver an enhanced dose intensity to those cancer cells, and spare normal tissues.

About QB3
QB3 is the University of California's hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in life science. The institute supports UC researchers and empowers Bay Area entrepreneurs to launch startup companies and partner with industry. With five incubators, an affiliated venture capital firm, and a special initiative in health technology — the UCSF Rosenman Institute — QB3 helps bio-entrepreneurs create high-value jobs and brings more than $750 million into the Bay Area each year. Visit qb3.org.

Kaspar Mossman

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